MDC-T leader said the party won’t go away until it has reached the ‘promised land
The top leadership of the MDC-T has passed a vote of confidence in its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, saying he remains a strong pillar of the party in the country.
The national executive of the party, which hosted a two day retreat to carry out a post mortem of the just ended elections, said it was clear that the country under Tsvangirai’s premiership had made progress in various sectors of the economy.
The confidence motion was moved amid reports certain sections within the party were calling on the out going Prime Minister to step down and allow for a leadership renewal. This followed his failure in a third attempt to dethrone President Robert Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that the two day meeting reaffirmed its confidence in the leadership of Tsvangirai, contrary to reports circulating in the media and social network platforms.
On Thursday Tsvangirai visited Bulawayo during his ongoing countrywide tour of party structures.
He told his supporters that he was touched and deeply humbled by the gesture shown by the people of Bulawayo. He thanked them for the support, loyalty and resilience as well as standing by what they believe is right.
The MDC-T leader said the party won’t go away until it has reached the ‘promised land.’ Bulawayo was the only city in the country where the MDC-T managed to retain all its parliamentary seats in the just ended elections.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, a director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that he thought it was surprising that calls for Tsvangirai to step down were coming from structures outside the party.
‘There were no such calls internally because they know they had their congress in 2010 and they know the congress lasts for five years and the next congress is in 2016. So outside of the congress there was no forum to call for leadership renewal.
‘What was to happen if they wanted leadership renewal was for them to talk nicely to their leader to say he has done his best and think that someone should come in. This was going to be a discussion among the MDC family, but there was no constitutional provision to call for the removal of Tsvangirai,’ Ruhanya said.
Asked if Tsvangirai can survive until the next party congress in three years time, Ruhanya retorted: ‘With due respect, there is no concerted group of people who have the capacity to democratically remove Tsvangirai.’
He continued: ‘I don’t see anyone with enough grassroots structures or support to defeat Tsvangirai in an election. What I think in my view is that should the MDC family think that their leader has played his role, has done his part and want to introduce someone to take over from Tsvangirai, the best way will be to talk to him.
‘This enables Tsvangirai to become part of the change process where there is facilitation for him to step aside, with his consent, and usher in a new leader without destabilizing their political platform,’ explained Ruhanya.
He said the party should not involve itself at looking for scapegoats for the electoral defeat, but instead should examine its internal failings with the hope of rectifying its mistakes.
‘When they joined the inclusive government the MDC-T did not keep their eyes on the ball. In fact some individuals in the party are not fit for purpose as they contributed immensely to the downfall of the party,’ claimed Ruhanya.
He pointed out that the system of allowing the top leadership not to be subjected to primary elections should be outlawed as it was the same as imposing candidates.
‘Any card carrying member of the MDC family should be able to take part in the primary elections. Lately the MDC had also closed its doors to new members with fresh ideas. This shouldn’t be happening in a pro-labour based party,’ he added.
Political scientist Gideon Chitanga said he was surprised there was already talk of leadership renewal before the party had finished examining how it lost the poll to ZANU PF.
‘Before they start to take aim at Tsvangirai each individual, from provincial level right up the standing committee, should examine the roles they played to find out what led them to where they are now.
‘Tsvangirai still enjoys confidence from people in the structures and people should not forget that ZANU PF subverted numbers to deny him victory in the July 31st election,’ Chitanga said.
But like Ruhanya, Chitanga agreed that the MDC-T played a major role in its defeat, and should stop crying over allegations that they elections were rigged with the help of Nikuv.
‘The MDC-T had ministers in government, people who could have easily detected what was happening at the Registrar-General’s office. Instead of blaming others the party should learn from its mistakes and plan ahead,’ according to Chitanga. – SW Radio